AFC Powerhouses Face Off

In what is a potential conference final preview, New England faces Houston in a battle between two teams who take six-game winning streaks in to this game. The Texans have lost just once all season – to the Green Bay Packers in Week 6 – winning all six matches on the road so far, including victories in Chicago and Denver. But a contest against Tom Brady’s number one ranked offence is undoubtedly their toughest test to date.

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continued his stellar season last weekend against the Titans with two sacks and two passes defensed, giving him more than double the number of passes blocked than any other lineman. Houston will need Watt and his fellow pass rushers to launch an all-out assault on Brady, given the Texans have allowed an average of 352 passing yards the last three weeks against strugglers Jacksonville, Detroit and Tennessee.

Despite an off day in against Miami last week, Brady has thrown 15 touchdown passes and just one interception the past six games. With tight end Rob Gronkowski already out, the Pats receiving stocks took another blow with wideout Julian Edelman ruled out for the season with a foot injury. It has means extra work for TE Aaron Hernandez and star receiver Wes Welker , who leads the league with 92 receptions.

The last time these teams faced off was Week 17 of the 2009 season. The Texans won 34-27 in an inconsequential match as New England had already secured the AFC East. This game has a much greater bearing on it. Houston can wrap up the number one seed in the AFC, while a Pats win would bring them within striking distance of the Texans. New England is 10-1 in its last 11 Monday Night Football starts, with those wins coming by an average of over 20 points.

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